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The Pollard Syndrum was the first electronic drum.

Joe Pollard a drummer for the Beach Boys, Grass Roots and studio drummer, is the father of the electronic drum. In 1976 he met Mark Barton at Tycobrahe Sound company in Hermosa Beach, California. The meeting was pure chance. Joe had been seeking someone to build him a set of electronic drums for over 10 years without any luck. Joe said that guitarists have pedals and effects, keyboard players have synthesizers, but drummers are still beating on skins. He wanted to take the drummer into the electronic age. Mark designed and built some working prototypes which were previewed to some prominent drummers. Reaction was very enthusiastic (even though that descending dooooom sound was not yet a feature), so Joe, Mark and Donald Stone incorporated Pollard Industries and starting selling Syndrums in Culver City, California. There were two models sold at the time, the single drum 177 and the four drum 477. Syndrums were a musical success (the endorsee list was quite lengthy), but a financial failure for the young company. Pollard, Inc. wound up selling its assets to Research Development Systems, Inc. two years later which manufactured the Syndrum CM and a couple of other slightly updated models.

There were 3 major types: The Syndrum 1, the Syndrum TwinDrum, and the Syndrum Quad. The syndrum quad was the most famous. Syndrums were used by such artists as Roger Taylor (Queen),[1] Carmine Appice, Terry Bozzio, Vinnie Colaiuta, Hal Blaine, Jeff Porcaro, Keith Moon, Nigel Olsson, Lee Kerslake (Uriah Heep) and many more. You can hear syndrums on Queen's "Fun It."

Syndrums were never meant to replace, but rather augment a drummer's set. Although the Syndrum was capable of many different sounds, the one that caught on was that descending "dooooooom" as heard on "Poor Pitiful Me" and Gerry Rafferty's "Baker Street". Frank Zappa was one of the few courageous enough to experiment with the gamut of Syndrum sounds. In the following years, several companies copied the Syndrum sound and controls in their own drum units and there is a Syndrum patch available in almost every synthesizer sold today.

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See also

Electronic Drum

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